Coffee Talk

Move your java service into the bold new world of crafted brews.

Just when you thought coffee couldn't get any more complicated, urban hipsters and other java aficionados are propelling the coffeehouse scene into its "Third Wave," a movement that's gaining momentum as more consumers seek out craft coffee brews much as they do with beer and wine.

"We define the 'Third Wave' coffee movement as elevating coffee to an artisan produce similar to fine wine–you may even see tasting notes on menus, like blackberry or citrus," says Mike Kostyo, senior publications manager at Datassential, a chicago-based menu research firm. "The Third Wave focuses on growing conditions; carefully sourced beans, with terms like single-estate; a near-obsessive focus on roasting, with ocncepts like small-batch roastings; and a huge variety of brewing methods dedicated to each bean variety, from pour-overs to siphones to high-tech machines.

Inspired Java Trends

Some also call it refinement of the Second Wave coffee movement, which was also dominated by Starbucks with its many milk-based, syrup-infused specialty coffee drinks. Now, however, coffee consumption has become more about the quality of the beans and the craftsmanship of the roasting, meant to bring out the natural "terroir" of the beans and other nuanced flavors. That leaves less room for those syrups and vanilla- or hazelnut-flavored beans in the coffee arena and more for locally roasted, single-origin beans sources from sustainable growers.

"We are still seeing many of the trends that have been growing in recent years, like our-over coffee, specialty blends, alternative, nondairy milks, and small-batch roastings, but now on-trend operators and manufacturers are taking it one step further," says Kostyo. "We are even seeing a number of coffee trends that are inspired by the craft cocktail movement–nitro coffees and lattes that are often described as the 'Guinness' of coffee, self-serve coffee taps and growlers, coffee aged in bourbon barrels, coffee mocktails mixed with house infusions and bitters."


Article by Amelia Levin, Progressive Grocer: Grocerant Solutions

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